Ethics of military cyber surveillance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Cyber capabilities offer governments and militaries previously unimaginable opportunities across the traditional domains of land, sea and air, as well as providing a distinct domain of operations. Technologically advanced states, especially major powers like the US, China and Russia, are investing huge human and financial resources to establish or maintain cyber dominance, with the associated political, military, social and economic advantages and implications it brings. This chapter examines aspects of military cyber surveillance ethics in both peacetime and wartime, and across military and military-related actors. Discussion of these elements is broken down into three sections and proceeds by considering the broader context within which related ethical judgements about cyber surveillance are made, including sovereignty and international law. Section two examines the ethical implications of pre-emptive versus preventive military cyber surveillance, followed by a discussion of the difficulty and importance of attribution of cyber surveillance. The final section introduces the ethics concept of jus ad vim – force-short-of-war – and uses recent cyber intrusions to explore the challenge of ethical analysis and appropriate political response.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCyber Warfare Ethics
EditorsMichael Skerker, David Whetham
Place of PublicationHavant
PublisherHowgate Publishing Limited
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781912440269
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2021


  • cyber
  • warfare
  • ethics
  • surveillance
  • military


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